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Re: Legal and liability - using my stamp

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Mark:

Others have offered good things to think about...both those from smaller
firms (i.e. sole practitioners) and larger firms (see Stan's comments).

I would say that Stan and Jason offered some good comments from a larger
firm perspective.

Some other things to keep in mind...

1) E&O insurance does absolutely NOTHING for your license.  As some have
hinted at, it will only protect your financial "tushie".  There is NOTHING
to protect your license except doing good engineering.  And, if you lose
your license, then you have problems with ALL states, as they are DARN
good about transmitting and "trusting" board enforcement actions, but have
trouble transmitting and/or "trusting" reference/job/school verification
for the purposes of getting a license by reciprosity (i.e. you fillout the
same forms 50 times if you want to be licensed in every state...unless you
do the NCEES records program).

2) I think think that Stan overstated the issue of who seals drawings
(i.e. responsible charge) just a hair.  While he is basically on point, it
is important to realize that each state can have slightly different
requirement/rules in this area.  I think Bill Sherman is a little closer
on target.  You need to be aware of what each state that you are licensed
in requires.  Some are rather lax (or non-specific), while others are very
strict and specific.

3) If you are officially sealing on behalf of the company (i.e. the
company offers professional services that you are providing as a company
employee), then many states have additional rules about how the company
needs to be setup (i.e. ownership).  I believe a couple people have
mentioned this.  This has two main impacts...first, more fees (for the
company)...but also, many states require a certain number of the
owners/principles be licensed.  To my understanding, New York require ALL
owners of the company to be licensed.  Michigan requires 2/3 of the
principles to be licensed (but carefully review how they define
principles...not necessarily owners, but could be non-owning company
officers).  To me, the intent of this provision is that engineering
decisions cannot (should not) be overridden by non-licensed individuals
due to financial reason rather than engineering reasons.

HTH,

Scott
Adrian, MI

On Tue, 8 Jun 2004 Markajohn(--nospam--at)cs.com wrote:

> Thanks to all who responded.  Very educational.
>
> So far, several people have said that insurance is of questionable use and
> may even be a bad idea.  There is also the discussion about who should stamp
> what. Also, there is risk, including lifetime liability and "prior acts"
> liability.  If the risk is not dealt with by insurance, or even if it is, it should be
> compensated for with a decent salary, partial ownership, etc.
>
> Now I have some things to talk to my firm about.  What a great list.
>
> Thanks All,
> Mark Johnson
>
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